Yarn was made this weekend. And I did it. A beautiful brown, single ply, thick and thin, Merino and Bamboo yarn. And I am now sure the decision I made 7 months ago to purchase a spinning wheel was the right one.
The weekend began with the arrival of my cousin from Pennsylvania. She arrived with her spinning wheel, her new Kromski Harp loom and her knitting. Her weekend was totally productive finishing some spinning, weaving (a gorgeous scarf - my pictures don't do it justice), work on a pair of socks (using 2 circular needles, toe up, doing 2 socks at one time, and her first cable pattern - the woman is invincible!), and she helped me get moving on this spinning thing.
My focus was my spinning wheel only. We started by taking the wheel out of its carrying case and digging around in the archive of my brain to remember how to put it together again. My cousin spent time checking, oiling and testing the wheel to see if it was ready for the rookie spinner. It passed the test.
Then began the inspection of the many fibers I had purchased last year - trying to find a good one for unskilled hands. She prepared and attached a leader to my wheel and connected the unspun fiber. It was then time for me to "sit behind the wheel" so to speak, and do the deed.
So I sat down with my cousins voice echoing in my head, "You only get better by practice." Hmm, ... practice.
And the struggle began: pulling on the fiber too much or not releasing enough, peddling too slow and then too fast, drafting too much or not enough, stopping the wheel to fix all the funky stuff I caused after all the previous stuff I did ... all performed as if trying to dance the waltz to rock music. And the echo kept returning "you only get better if you practice" - so I plowed on.
And then something happened. I wasn't thinking about my feet so much. I guess they figured out what they needed to do finally. That freed up some brain function. And then I noticed that occasionally I was able spin continually for about 5 or 6 seconds before stopping. Yes, that seems short, but it is an improvement over spinning for 2-3 seconds before stopping. I also began to catch my own mistakes: I still made them but I at least I saw them.
And, I, too, worked on a pair of socks - but I was doing it the old fashion way: one at a time, top down, using double pointed needles. My only real claim to fame on these beauties is that I am working on the foot of the second sock - so the end is within sight. Since the start was January 2009 it is about time they were done. I started out making them for me, but they will go to my daughter when they are complete.
Having my cousin here for a visit tops the list of weekend treasures. Spinning a bunch holds second place. Mom really enjoyed the visit - fascinated by the weaving. And then there was the food (the corn bread and bacon vegetable soup were yummy at lunch on Saturday), and the wine (thank you Australia for Yellow Tail) was great, and the sharing (catching up on our lives, planning for future visits) was long overdue ... these weekends always great fun.